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to "hardball." ♪ >>> we're back. 85-year-old pope benedict the former joseph ratzinger made history today when he left the vatican in a helicopter from rome to the papal summer home cassell began dal foe for the first phase of his retirement. in his final tweet as pot he said, quote, that you for your love and support. may you always experience the joy that comes from putting christ at the center of your lives. his departure ushers in a new era for the church and the more than 1 billion catholics worldwide and soon more than 100 cardinals will meet in conclave to select a new pope and decide the future of the faith. george is our nbc news vatican analyst and tom roberts is managing editor of the national catholic reporter and author of "the emerging catholic church." george, you know, in american presidential politics, we always try to correct for the latest president. you know, we had truman who had too much of a kansas city problem so we brought in mr. clean eisenhower. we had nixon and ford so we brought in a guy who had never been involved in politics or been to washington, cater. and we b
. what has struck me in the 25 years i have known the man who will return to being joseph ratzinger, is the simplicity of his soul. this is a thoroughly convinced christian believer who happens to be one of the smartest people in the world who speaks six or seven languages with complete flewency, who knows the history of biblical religion from "a" to "z." who never wanted to be an executive, a manager, who always thought of himself primarily as a scholar. but who somehow could translate all of that learning into beautiful simplicities about god's love for the world and for god's people. >> and, george, even as we honor the service of this pope, we look forward to the election of a new pope. and tell us about this process. i mean, is this a sort of thing where, for lack of a better term, there are front-runners? >> there will be an enormous amount of ink spilled in the italian press over the next two weeks about front-runners. most of that would be silly. there are a number of cardinals who fit what would seem to me to be the profile. first of all, a man in full physical vigor. that
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